Friday Five: Personal best for 2010

NYEunfurl2010 on this blog began with a defiant, bring it on tone in the wake of a personally taxing 2009. That inaugural post combined cockiness with hopefulness and faith in the renewing of all things. It was all about the fresh start. The do-over. The clean slate of a new year.

Today, I say goodbye to 2010 — a year as challenging as the year before — with a look back at a few of my favorite blog posts. I call this list my personal best, but that’s subjective. I didn’t base this list on any sort of quantitative analysis. Google Analytics data, retweet or comment volume — none of that came into play in compiling this short list. These are just the posts that, in my opinion, reflect some of my best thinking and writing from 2010.

Conveniently, the year ends of a Friday, so in keeping with my Friday Five tradition, I’ve narrowed the list to a mere five (plus one bonus I couldn’t resist sharing).

1. Jan. 21, 2010: Achieving liftoff. My thoughts on trying to move a communications office from “tactical” to “strategic.” The gist of it:

It’s tough to say no to people who are used to getting their way.

It’s tough to be both a service provider and a strategic partner within an institution.

It’s hard to set priorities.

These are just a few realities that have set in this week as the newness of 2010 begins to fade into the past. These are lessons I thought I’d learned before. But I’m re-learning them. Some days, I re-learn them several times.

2. Feb. 9, 2010: We won’t get fooled again? Oh, yes, we will get fooled again.* The day after Super Bowl XLIV and the 12-minute halftime performance by what’s left of the Who, I riffed on one of the band’s most famous anthems in the context of some of the pressing issues of that time: the Toyota recall, Google’s grand plans (remember Wave and Buzz, anyone?), the growing opposition to President Obama’s policy agenda. And about how things change when former underdogs become the top dogs. “[T]hinking about that tune led me to ponder the state of the things we love, or think we love, in our world, and how we cheer for the upstarts and sing praises when they triumph. That is, until they fall into the same patterns of their predecessors.”

3. July 16, 2010: Friday Five: Spicing up social media. The one in which I, in concert with a jillion other bloggers, attempt to deconstruct, but more or less just fawn over, the success of the Old Spice social media campaign.

4. Nov. 24, 2010: On thanksgiving and humility. The obligatory Thanksgiving holiday post with a bit of a twist. It’s a reflection on humility, a “virtue that doesn’t get much play these days. I’m not sure it ever did.”

Since biblical times, humility’s opposite — pride, which tops the all-time list of deadly sins — has taken the leading role. The Old Testament Book of Proverbs warns that pride is a precursor to disaster: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before the fall.” Even on the list of seven heavenly virtues, humility ranks dead last. Which is, I guess, fitting.

5. Nov. 26, 2010: Why researchers should blog. Definitely one of the most retweeted posts of 2010, this entry — a little riff on Peter Janiszewski’s case study on his success in blogging about research — led to a follow-up guest-post on Peter’s Science of Blogging website. In my original post, I tried to point out that university PR folks and researchers could leverage exposure to researchers’ ideas. “Ideally,” I wrote, “university media relations offices should work together with scholar-bloggers like Janszewski to help get important research out to the public. Not as personal publicists — we all know faculty who see that as the role of a media relations office — but as partners in disseminating scholarship. We can do so not only by publicizing their research but by talking about the researchers’ own public-service blogging, and by pointing media and others to the researchers’ own efforts.”

6. Oct. 1, 2010 (bonus post): Friday Five: A blatant appeal for help (off-topic). This was an appeal I wrote to help for a colleague whose daughter, Sydney, was undergoing cancer treatments, and to help another colleague who was working to help Sydney’s parents offset their mounting medical bills. I include this only to illustrate the generosity of the online community, including many of you, when it comes to helping out someone in need. So many of you who responded to this plea — to the tune of more than $2,000. Today, Sydney is cancer-free and enjoying the life of a 3-year-old. Thank you.

Finally, I want to express thanks to all of you for reading this blog. I know you have countless other ways to spend your time. I’m honored and very humbled by your generosity of spirit.

Happy New Year!

Photo by Darwin Bell/Flickr –

Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

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